We asked our friend Grace Decker to share her 10 favorite children's books with our readers. Check out her facebook page, Grace's Picks. It's chock-full of great book recommendations!
(approximate age recommendation in parentheses)
1) “More, More, More” said the Baby, by Vera Williams (age 1-3 years)
Joyfully illustrated, three “mini-stories” of adorably round-tummied toddlers whose grownups bring them “right up close” and let them know they are loved, loved, loved. Bonus, this book is – but doesn't make a big deal out of being – ethnically and family-structurally diverse.
2) Hello, Shoes! by Joan Blos (age 2-3 years)
Does hunting for your favorite shoes (the red ones, with the buckles) and then putting them on all by yourself, and then going to the park with your grandpa sound like a big adventure? It does if you are two years old!
3) Giant John, by Arnold Lobel (age 3-5 years)
A funny and warm fairy tale of Giant John, who, when his family was down to their last two potato chips, sets off into the world to seek his fortune. Perfect for anyone who has caused a mess through their over-enthusiasm.
4) Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf (age 3-5 years)
Hard to believe this book was written in the '30s. The illustrations and story are perfectly matched for a tender and hilariously funny story of the peace-and-quiet-loving bull, Ferdinand, who gets mistaken for a hard-charger when he sits on a bee.
5) The Frances Books, by Russell and Lillian Hoban (ages 3 – 8 years)
The amazing thing about the Frances books is the complete believability of the child's perspective. Frances feels all her feelings, and expresses them (often in poetry.) No matter what, her parents love her unconditionally and create an environment that is the definition of security.
6) Min-Yo and the Moon Dragon, by Elizabeth Hillman (ages 3 – 8 years)
This story is close to perfect for me. A brave female main character (though that point is not heavy-handed), strong values of friendship and willingness to explore, and illustrations that set JUST the right tone.
7) My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett (ages 3 – 7, read-aloud; 6 – 10, solo read)
It is hard to find chapter books to read aloud to young children! Hooray for this book – first of a trilogy! The chapters are short, the stories are inventive without being too complex, there is a lot of humor and an overall tone of well-being– no one is ever in any truly scary danger.
8) Many Moons, by James Thurber (ages 4 – 8, read-aloud; 6 – 9, solo read)
Delightful and unusual story about a princess who wishes for the moon, and of all the wise men of the court, only the court jester trusts HER to know how to get it.
9) A Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden (ages 4 – 10, read-aloud; 8 – 12, solo read)
The audio version, read by Renee Auberjeanois, is especially recommended.
10) The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende (5 – 10 years, read-aloud; 9 – 14 years, solo read)
If you have seen the movie—trust me. The book is about imagination, the power of story, friendship, and intention, and above all, the healing power of love. I have read this book out loud to children about five times, and can't wait to do it again.